What are Voluntary Protection / Aftermarket Products?
Voluntary Protection or Aftermarket Products may be offered by your dealer when purchasing or leasing your new car. These may be presented either during the negotiation, at the closing, or occasionally by “pre-loading” into the vehicle price via a window price addendum. Be aware that no matter how these products are presented, you're not required to purchase or finance as part of the sale. While we can't tell you if these products are right for you, we can help you understand what to consider before purchasing or financing these products.
What you need to know
- Be informed: You're not required to purchase any of these products when you buy or finance a vehicle.
- Get the facts: Be sure the dealer provides all the details, terms and conditions related to any Voluntary Protection/Aftermarket Products you may be interested in.
- Understand the details: Don't purchase any product you don't want or fully understand, or don't think you need or can afford. With this information, you can better determine if the product is valuable for you based on your situation. It's also important to be aware of any product cancellation provisions. While some products can be canceled, others may not. If the product can be canceled, you may seek a refund of any eligible unused portion if you pay off your finance agreement early, or sell or trade your vehicle prior to the product's maturity.
- Know who offers the product: Generally, these products are offered for sale by the dealer or a third-party provider. Questions related to the products or purchase should be directed to the dealer, seller or provider. Please refer to your product agreement for complete details.
MOST COMMON PRODUCTS
Vehicle Service Contract or Agreements
A Vehicle Service Contract pays for specified mechanical repairs or services. These plans generally provide coverage after the manufacturer's warranty expires. Prices vary a great deal based on your vehicle, length of coverage and miles driven, and usually require a deductible.
An Extended Warranty differs from a Service Contract in that it can only be offered by the manufacturer. Extended Warranties are common on Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, where the manufacturer extends the factory warranty on late model, low mileage pre-owned vehicles that undergo a detailed, multi-point inspection and reconditioning process.
The Federal Trade Commission provides more details on the difference between Service Contracts and Extended Warranties.
GAP Insurance or Waiver
If you financed the purchase of your car, the Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance and GAP waiver generally provide protection when your car is stolen and not recovered, or damaged beyond repair and declared a total loss through theft, accident, or other causes. If you finance a significant portion of your auto purchase, then you may owe more than the value of your car. In this case, the difference is called the “gap.” Auto insurance companies typically pay the value of your car rather than the amount remaining owed on your loan. These products may help reduce the amount owed when the proceeds from your insurance company are not enough to pay off the remaining balance owed.
- What is GAP insurance? GAP insurance may be sold by the dealer at the time of sale or can be purchased from an auto insurer after you buy your car. This product is in addition to your comprehensive insurance and agrees to pay the bank some or all of the remaining balance owed.
- What is a GAP waiver? A GAP waiver tends to be more commonly sold by auto dealers and can only be purchased at the time you buy your car. This product may cancel or “waive” some or all of the remaining balance owed.
No matter which GAP product you pick, it's important to remain current on your auto loan to get the full benefits. Coverage varies by product and you may remain responsible for certain amounts.
These plans cover maintenance for a specified period of time and miles. They usually cover oil changes, tire rotations, and basic maintenance like fluid level checks and visual inspection of belts, hoses, and wiper blades. They may also be called Maintenance Care or a Scheduled Maintenance Agreement.
Paint and Fabric Protection
This product is a chemical sealant applied to the exterior paint and the interior fabric of your vehicle. The sealants are designed to protect your exterior paint from fading and oxidation and your interior fabric against everyday spills, fading and stains. These products are occasionally pre-applied to the vehicle by the dealer and added to the price of the vehicle via a window addendum. Be aware that while the application of the product may not be presented as optional, the short-term warranty that generally accompanies the product and is offered at closing is optional, so read product documents closely.
Theft Recovery/Deterrent Products
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) may help recover lost or stolen vehicles as well as provide connected car technology such as driving alerts and geo-fencing. In addition, Etch products, which add an identification to your car's windows and/or body parts, are designed to deter theft by making your car's parts traceable.
You may qualify for a discount on your comprehensive insurance if you use certain Theft Recovery/Deterrent products. Check with your insurance agent to find out which products qualify under your plan.
Tire & Wheel Protection or Coverage
This product may cover repairs or the replacement of damaged tires or wheels due to road hazards such as metal, nails, potholes, glass and debris.
This product may cover dents and dings on your vehicle's exterior vertical surfaces. Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) uses an innovative process to remove small dents and dings from your vehicle's body panels without the need for a trip to the body shop.
Other Commonly Available Products
Other popular Voluntary Protection/Aftermarket Products your dealer may discuss with you include Key Replacement (replaces lost key fobs) and Windshield Protection (coverage for replacement or repair of small window cracks or stars).